Posted April 26, 2013

Timberwolves reportedly bringing in Flip Saunders to replace David Kahn

Minnesota Timberwolves
David Kahn (top) will reportedly be replaced by Flip Saunders. (Jim Mone/AP)

David Kahn (right), with former Wolves guard Jonny Flynn, has been Minnesota’s president of basketball operations since 2009. (Jim Mone/AP)

David Kahn’s time in Minnesota appears to be over.

According to a report from NBA.com’s Steve Aschburner, the Wolves will replace Kahn, the president of basketball operations since May 2009, with former Minnesota coach Flip Saunders.

Saunders, 58, has been negotiating a contract that, with option years, could run through the 2017-18 season and could be worth more than $9 million over the full five years, according to league sources who requested anonymity because they weren’t authorized to discuss the hiring.

The move, which could become official as soon as next week, would end David Kahn’s controversial tenure after four seasons and an 89-223 record during which the Timberwolves’ failure to reach the playoffs stretched to nine consecutive seasons. Kahn’s contract includes a team option for 2013-14 that will not be exercised.

Kahn’s record in the NBA draft speaks for itself. In 2009, he drafted three point guards in the first round (Ricky Rubio, Jonny Flynn and Ty Lawson) before trading one of them (Lawson) to the Nuggets. Rubio would spend two more years overseas before blossoming into one of the NBA’s best young playmakers; Flynn spent two years in Minnesota before being traded to the Rockets; and Lawson has turned into one of the NBA’s best two-way point guards … in Denver. A year later, the Wolves selected Wesley Johnson with the fourth pick; he disappointed in his two years with the team and was traded to Phoenix last summer.

In free agency, Kahn has rolled the dice and missed on several players, including Darko Milicic and Brandon Roy.

Kahn, a former sportswriter, also had a rocky relationship with franchise cornerstone Kevin Love. Forced to settle for a four-year extension over the five-year type often given to franchise players, Love questioned Kahn’s ability to build a contender. “You walk into the locker room every year, and it’s completely turned over,” Love told Yahoo! Sports. “There’s new guys everywhere. And then it happens again and again. You start to wonder: Is there really a plan here? Is there really any kind of a … plan?”

Saunders played GM and coach in Minnesota in 1995, taking over the latter duties when Bill Blair was fired. With Kevin Garnett in the fold, Saunders led the Wolves to eight straight postseason appearances before being replaced by Kevin McHale in 2005. Saunders last coached the Wizards in 2012, and Aschburner reports that he is “comfortable with the prospect of a front-office job rather than a future coaching position.”

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